Two new Earth-like planets discovered near Teegarden's Star

An international research team led by the University of Göttingen has discovered two new Earth-like planets near one of our closest neighboring stars. "Teegarden's star" is only about 12.5 light years away from Earth and is one of the smallest known stars. It is only about 2,700 °C warm and about ten times lighter than the Sun. Although it is so close to us, the star wasn't discovered until 2003. The scientists observed the star for about three years, according to Science Daily.

Their data clearly show the existence of two planets. "The two planets resemble the inner planets of our solar system," explains lead author Mathias Zechmeister of the Institute for Astrophysics at the University of Göttingen.

Search for Advanced Life in Universe Narrowed Down

Traditionally, much of the search for extraterrestrial life has focused on what scientists call the "habitable zone," defined as the range of distances from a star warm enough that liquid water could exist on a planet's surface. That description works for basic, single-celled microbes—but not for complex creatures like animals, which include everything from simple sponges to humans.

The team's work, published in The Astrophysical Journal, shows that accounting for predicted levels of certain toxic gases narrows the safe zone for complex life by at least half—and in some instances eliminates it altogether.

Reaching and grasping: Learning fine motor coordination changes the brain

When we train the reaching for and grasping of objects, we also train our brain. In other words, this action brings about changes in the connections of a certain neuronal population in the red nucleus, a region of the midbrain. Researchers at the University of Basel's Biozentrum have discovered this group of nerve cells in the red nucleus. They have also shown how fine motor tasks promote plastic reorganization of this brain region, according to Science Daily.

Simply grasping a coffee cup needs fine motor coordination with the highest precision. This required performance of the brain is an ability that can also be learned and trained.

Dogs' eyes evolve to appeal to humans

If a dog has eyes that seem to be telling you something or demanding your attention, it could be evolution's way of manipulating your feelings.
Researchers have found that dogs have evolved muscles around their eyes, which allow them to make expressions that particularly appeal to humans, according to BBC.
A small facial muscle allows dog eyes to mimic an "infant-like" expression which prompts a "nurturing response".
The study says such "puppy eyes" helped domesticated dogs to bond with humans.
Previous studies have shown how such canine expressions can appeal to humans, but this research from the UK and US shows there has been an anatomical change around dogs' eyes to make it possible.

How multi-celled animals developed

Scientists at The University of Queensland have upended biologists' century-old understanding of the evolutionary history of animals.

Using new technology to investigate how multi-celled animals developed, their findings revealed a surprising truth, according to Science Daily.

Professor Bernie Degnan said the results contradicted years of tradition.

"We've found that the first multicellular animals probably weren't like the modern-day sponge cells, but were more like a collection of convertible cells," Professor Degnan said.

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